Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics

No 4-2021: Gender Norms and Specialization in Household Production: Evidence from a Danish Parental Leave Reform

Anne Sophie Lassen ()
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Anne Sophie Lassen: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics, Porcelaenshaven 16 A. 1. floor, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract: This paper shows that decisions regarding intra-household specializations are determined by gender norms rather than standard economic incentives. To test theoretical predictions of both the standard model of intra-household time allocation and the role of gender identity, social category and prescriptions, I use variation from a Danish parental leave reform. I find large effects among mothers and virtually unchanged behavior among fathers, irrespective of relative earnings in the household. This is consistent with the notion of pay-off from gender identity. Subsequently, I find peer effects among sisters and interpret this as reform-induced prescriptions regarding extensive leave for mothers.

Keywords: Intra-household specialization; Gender norms; Parental leave; Peer effects

JEL-codes: D13; J13; J16; J18; J22

47 pages, January 8, 2021

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